Thursday, 10 March 2011

Song at sunset

A glorious sunset over the winter dike looking towards Zalk (Overijssel)
A couple of Sundays ago we decided to pay a visit to an old favourite spot in our former neighbourhood in Zwolle: Westenholte. Situated in the outskirts, Westenholte is a village that became part of Zwolle in 1967, but it still keeps the charm of a typical Dutch dorpje (village) with beautiful farm houses, green fields with sheep and cows grazing and the winter dike, a haven for dozens of different bird species.
The afternoon was very cold and the sky didn't say much, being the usual dull grey that we very often see in these parts during the winter months. But as the day was coming to a close, the sky opened a tiny bit and we witnessed a glorious sunset. Hundreds of birds were flying off in groups and then settling down again on the water and the racket they were all making was almost overwhelming... At that moment I thought of a poem, Song at sunset, by Whalt Whitman:

Splendor of ended day floating and filling me,
Hour prophetic, hour resuming the past,
Inflating my throat, you divine average,
You earth and life till the last ray gleams I sing...

Another sunset, another Sunday - this time in Flevoland, near Dronte.
I didn't sing, but I felt as if I were at the opera watching the drama of the day reaching its climax to then end, and I immediately remembered something that I had read years ago about Catalonian artist Santiago Rusiñol.

Santiago Rusiñol, a Spanish painter, playwright and poet, apparently used to climb up a hill near his house every afternoon, and sit there as if at the theatre, waiting for the sunset to start. He would watch the sun begin to go down as if it were an actor  or an opera singer performing his part at the thetre. As the sun touched the horizon, Rusiñol would cheer, clap his hands and even ask for an encore if the sunset had been sublime. Instead, if he hadn't been moved at all by the spectacle of the day coming to an end, he would boo, hoot at the sun and walk away in disgust as a disappointed theatre goer who walks straight back to the box office to ask for his money back.

I glimpsed the sun setting down behind he row of houses in my neighbourhood.
With this in mind, I thought I would show you here some sunset photos taken by friends and share with you a few more verses Walt Whitman's poem, Song at Sunset. Feel free to cheer as much as you like, for they are all fantastic shots of beautiful sunsets in different places around the world:

(click on the images to see a large version of the photos)
Nighfall in Madrid (Spain) - by Artigazo (David)
Open mouth of my soul uttering gladness,
Eyes of my soul seeing perfection,
Natural life of me faithfully praising things,
Corroborating forever the triumph of things.

Taking off to a warmer place (Hoofddorp, NL) - by Agnes Lapin
Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself
How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around!
How the clouds pass silently overhead!
How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on!
Mirrors (Coral Gables, Fl., USA) - by Roberto Bowyer
How the water sports and sings! (surely it is alive!)
How the trees rise and stand up, with strong trunks, with branches
and leaves!
(Surely there is something more in each of the trees, some living soul.)

Alley of ghosts (Rota, Spain) - by Artigazo (David)
O amazement of things--even the least particle!
O spirituality of things!
O strain musical flowing through ages and continents, now reaching
me and America!
I take your strong chords, intersperse them, and cheerfully pass
them forward.

Flames 2 (Philadelphia, USA) - by Roberto Bowyer
I too carol the sun, usher'd or at noon, or as now, setting,
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the
growths of the earth,
I too have felt the resistless call of myself.

Cuando el ocaso se acaba (when the day comes to an end) Gijón, Spain - by Urugallu (José Rodríguez)
I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
I sing the endless finales of things,
I say Nature continues, glory continues,
I praise with electric voice,
For I do not see one imperfection in the universe,
And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.

On fire (Conrwall, UK) - by Agnes Lapin
Oh setting sun! Though the time has come, 
I still warble under you, if no one else does, unmitigated adoration.

Ocaso en Peñas (sunset in Peñas) - Asturias, Spain - by Urugallu (José Rodríguez)

I want to thank Agnès, David (Artigazo), Roberto and José (Urugallu) for letting me show their beautiful photos here. It was hard to pick just a few to post since they all have amazing images - the real deal, as I often refer to their photos. You can see more of their work by visiting their fantastic Flickr galleries:

Agnès Lapin
Artigazo (David)
Roberto Bowyer
Urugallu (José Rodríguez)


Presepio No Canal said...

UAU! What a great post, Aledys! Everything! Where should I start?
Ok...I became in love for the place you describe near Zwolle. It's the kind of place I like very much. I must go there. Thanks for the tip! ;-)
Your friends photos, what can I say? :-) They are gorgeous!!! Thank you so much for sharing them and their portfolio!
Love the story about the Spanish painter!
And the poem!
This post is a composition of beauty!
Gracias!! :-) Besos!!

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks, Sandra!! If you want to come one day to visit Zwolle I'll take you there. It's not a long walk and in the summer it's a very nice spot.

Merijelen said...


Aledys Ver said...

Gracias, Merijelen!

Presepio No Canal said...

Conta comigo, entao :-) Quem sabe na proxima semana, num dia de sol, mesmo que esteja frio. Mas se tiver sol ai, vou! Diz-me a que horas te da jeito que eu chegue e onde nos encontramos. Beijos!

Breigh said...

I thought I recognized those photos, Agnes is in my photo club, what a great gal :) Nice post!

P.s. I hate disqus :P

Aledys Ver said...

Lol! Sorry about Disqus - I don't love it nor hate it.
Yes, Agnes is a doll! :D

Aledys Ver said...

Ahora vemos por privado, Sandrinha! Encantada de que vengas.

Agnes said...

I quite like that anecdote about Santiago Rusiñol! Amusing! Thanks for posting my photos alongside the other beautiful pictures!! :)

Aledys Ver said...

Yes, it's a cute story! Thank you for letting me post yours here! :D

BLOGitse said...

Ooooh I love sunsets!
I noticed two white 'spots' on the second shot - what are they? Not clouds?
When in New Zealand I shot a zillion sunsets - amazing. I posted a series of one, maybe I'll repost it one day.

I'm not able to sing when watching beautiful sunset. My voice would break the illusion....

(We're both sick, flu. Stayed in bed all afternoon. Now I cook something light for dinner and back to bed. My head is like balloon. I need to get well soon - moving back to Finland next week and still a lot to do...)

Aledys Ver said...

I would very much like to see those photos! New Zealand is beautiful!
Sorry to hear that you are ill! I hope you'll get better really soon! Wow, going back to Finland next week!! Will you miss Casa.? :D

Ana O'Reilly said...

Lovely photos :)

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks, Ana!

BLOGitse said...

Maybe I post them when I don't have anything else to post! :)
We're both ill but no the evening we're half dead and then early morning we start waking up...I was up from 2 till 5 this morning...
Miss Casa - No, no, no!!! We can't wait to get out from here! My poor husband has to suffer till the end of the month...
We need a break after hard three years - first in Cairo and now here. We thought Cairo was difficult but this is worse! Expat life here is not easy (and I mean only Casablanca not whole Morocco, I know only Casa).
Paperwork, banking...oh boy.
In Finland we can do everything online. Here you can see only your bank acc. saldo online! hah! What a joke!

Aledys Ver said...

Well, I've never been to Casa - but I guess one thing is to be there on holiday and quite another to live. I can see how everything must be different and less organised - that kind of thing, that you are not used to, being Northern European.
I wouldn't know what it is to queue up in a bank anymore! Or go somewhere to pay your bills...
Are you all packed, yet? :D

BLOGitse said...

You got it!
Moving company does packing, personal stuff we pack ourself...My suitcase is almost ready to go! :)

A Vagamundos said...

Hola Aledys. Gorgeous sunsets! Really magic photos!

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks for your comment, Vagamundos!

Japra said...

A beautiful post and stunning sunsets from around the world!

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks, JaPRA!!

Katie said...

I just loved this post! The combination of poetry and images was really exquisite. Bravo!

P.S. I especially liked the photo of the sunset in Philadelphia. ;)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Katie!! The urban sunset is really beautiful. Are you originally from Philly?

Anonymous said...

I definitely feel like cheering after seeing those photos. I love that story of Rusiñol! How funny and how inspiring! Growing up in Florida, I always loved watching the sun set from the deck at my grandparents' house that overlooked the Halifax River.